Al and I last visited Champ Kitchen & Bar in Southbank in September 2012. Although we arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a pre-theatre dinner, our last visit was marred by slow service and confused staff. The meal itself was delicious but the whole experience left us doubting whether or not we’d ever go back.
This time our visit was on a rainy Sunday, again a pre-show light lunch before seeing A Chorus Line. We had intended to venture down Little Stanley Street in the hope of eating somewhere new, but the rain and no umbrella forced us to head for Champ to test their tapas menu.
I started with a Lychee, lime and mint frappe. This drink receives a double thumbs up! I think I’ll try making it at home over Christmas (with a dash of vodka, of course).
For tapas we choose four dishes;
- Scallops on black pudding with cauliflower puree
- Porcini mushroom aranchini balls
- Chorizo sausages with pesto and tomato relish
- House smoked salmon with sourdough bread and capers
They arrived within 10 minutes of ordering and they were all tasty and well priced. I’m not a fan of black pudding and Al said he would have preferred it a little more crispy but the scallops were plump and juicy with just the right amount of carmalisation. The aranchini balls were tasty and moist. Often they are over-cooked and dry but I liked these a lot. Al devoured the mini chorizo sausages. After one bite, too spicy for me. I would have enjoyed a little more flavour on the salmon but with a squeeze of lemon juice, this also was a satisfying and healthy dish.
They had a lovely selection of afternoon tea delights on the bench including custard tarts, eclairs and chocolate brownies. We did consider buying some to take home with us but common sense and theatre tickets prevailed.
Champ has a nice relaxed feel about it and was certainly busy on this rainy day. Was a little disappointing that none of the staff noticed the two elderly ladies, who on finishing their afternoon tea, tried to leave via the very large full glass window to the left of the dining area. They tried to push against it for several minutes until another diner pointed them in the right direction. In their defense, it does look a little like it could be an exit door.
Verdict: good option for pre-theatre dining if you want to stay close to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Grey St, Southbank, Ground floor, ABC building
(near the wheel)